Children’s centres attendances fall coinciding with council cash cutting

PUBLISHED: 06:25 24 October 2018

Yatton Library is now home to the children's centre. Picture: Mark Atherton

Yatton Library is now home to the children's centre. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

Fewer families are using North Somerset’s children centres since services suffered cut backs.

In an effort to balance the books, changes have taken places at various children’s centres across the district.

Attendance figures show though fewer people are now visiting the centres.

A 20 per cent drop off has been recorded since North Somerset Council, coincidentally, reduced budgets by 20 per cent three years ago.

In June, the council voted through a further £315,000 cut to the service over the next two years.

Despite the move, no children’s centres will be closed down, although there were initially fears Banwell’s facility would be axed.

The council still runs 14 centres across the area, but many have been altered or scaled back.

Yatton’s children centre was moved into the library last year, but there are already plans to reduce the service’s provision.

A reduction in hours at Ashcombe Children’s Centre and at Ashcombe Nursery and Little Waves in Weston was also planned amid the cutbacks.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “Fewer families are using the service as we have had to reduce our offer to families over the past three years.

“Children’s centres have seen a 20 per cent cut in their budget over this period.

“We have protected our direct one-to-one work with children and families. We have also joined up with other partners to make more effective use of buildings such as shared use with libraries.”

The council spokesman added: “We want all families to use our centres and are working with partners in health, the voluntary sector and social care organisations to maximise opportunities and make the best use of these great centres.

“We are using five original sites in a different way, but the public can still access services in all locations.”

Centres in Pill and Long Ashton were similarly affected by the cost-cutting measures.

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